Hooray! You have a NAMI On Campus College Club. First and foremost, welcome. This is so exciting and everyone at NAMI wants to congratulate you for making the choice to bring a mental health club to your school.
Education and awareness are important, especially when it comes to mental health. By bringing a NAMI On Campus club to your school and community, YOU become part of the change in a really positive way. Congratulations!
NAMI On Campus for colleges is an incredible leadership opportunity for students to bring mental health clubs to their schools and community. We believe in empowering students to have control over the design of the club for their individual schools, so although we provide you with a framework with how to run your club, we encourage you to personalize it and make it your own!
Let's Do This!
Step 1: Get in touch with your local NAMI Affiliate or State Organization.
Now that you have established your club, it is important to maintain communication with your local NAMI Affiliate and/or State Organization. They can provide you with resources as well as opportunities to participate in NAMI events and opportunities.
Step 2: Check out NAMI on Campus College resources.
NAMI created useful resources to help you in your NAMI on Campus activities. Make sure to go through everything on this page so you’re aware of what’s available to you. If there’s something that would be helpful that isn’t on this page, please email your ideas to email@example.com.
Step 3: Designate club roles.
Making a difference on campus is a big job, and you'll need a committed group of individuals to take on leadership roles to keep the club moving towards your goals. Each club should have, at a minimum, a club president, secretary, and treasurer. The leaders are responsible for planning meetings and communicating with other club members and the campus community about upcoming meetings, events, and initiatives. To maintain a long-lasting presence on campus it is important to incorporate an election system at the end of each year to place new or returning leadership for the following year.
Step 4: Plan your first meeting and schedule for future meetings.
Step 5: Start your action plan.
Scheduling is key when it comes to running an effective club. First, pull out your calendars and set a date to plan and strategize for your upcoming year! Once you decide on a date for you and your leaders to meet, plan out your schedule for the following school year to make sure everyone has ample time to save the date for upcoming club meetings and gain the best attendance. Your initial kick off meeting is also great to see what interest there is at the school. Remember, this is to be fun! It never hurts to have light refreshments, ice breaker activities, to get to know one another better and snacks! Include your faculty advisor and any NAMI contacts so they can attend as well. The more the merrier we like to say!
ACTION PLANS = RESULTS. You have the option to plan out all activities, club meetings, and school engagement ideas for the entire year or do one per quarter of school. This helps keep everyone on track and can help by assigning specific club participants to each action item. Delegating specific tasks to each member is a manageable and efficient way to get things done!
Step 6: Plan your first event or activity.
Activities can be big or small, what matters most is that you reach students at your school who need to know more about mental health, how to help themselves or others, and find resources to support them in their journey. Involve other clubs, NAMI contacts, teachers, school staff - whoever you need to include to make a big splash!
Step 7: Ask your school administrators to help you spread the word about your club and to invite students to join.
Talk to your teachers, school counselors, school nurses and other personnel. Ask to hang up flyers that announce meetings or events. Most everyone knows someone with a mental health condition, and remember, we all have mental health! Explain the importance for your school and the students on campus. Allow a space for people to share how they’re affected and ways they can help and/or things they think are important for the club to do!
Step 8: Pick your first annual advocacy effort.
This is a great way to find your club’s voice. What is important to them? Is there something you want to change at your school? Is there an issue you’d like to advocate for at the local level? State level? Federal level? Youth voice isn’t always at the table when policies are being developed. This is a great way to get involved and remind officials “nothing for us, without us”.
If you have any questions through this process, as you’re getting settled as a new club, please don’t hesitate to contact your NA and/or NSO. You can also email NAMI National at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional support and resources.